Ingrown toenails can be painful and unsightly, and they may cause serious problems if they become infected. If your toenails are starting to become ingrown, our surgeons, of Kinetic Foot and Ankle Clinic in Greenwood Village, Colorado, are skilled foot and ankle surgeons with extensive expertise in treating ingrown toenails. If you get your ingrown toenails treated promptly, you can avoid a great deal of pain and inconvenience, so call the clinic today or book an appointment online.

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What is an ingrown toenail?

A healthy toenail grows away from the surrounding soft tissues. When a toenail becomes ingrown, the toenail grows directly into the soft flesh. The side or corner of the nail pushes into the skin and flesh around it, causing pain and swelling if left unchecked.

It’s possible for ingrown toenails to become infected, which could potentially spread to the bones in the toe and cause a serious infection. Ingrown toenails usually affect the big toe, but can affect any of your nails.

What causes ingrown toenails?

The most common causes of ingrown toenails are:

  • Wearing tight shoes
  • Cutting toenails too short
  • Cutting into the side of the nail

You can help prevent ingrown toenails from forming by taking good care of your feet and not squeezing your toes into tight shoes. Always cut your toenails straight across rather than shaping them like you would your fingernails, and keep them the same length as your toes.

How should I care for an ingrown toenail?

In the early stages, you may be able to manage the ingrowing nail yourself:

  • Soak your feet for 20 minutes three or four times a day
  • Use clean cotton or dental floss to keep the nail away from the soft tissues
  • Apply an antibiotic cream to the toe
  • Wrap the toe in a clean bandage, but not too tightly
  • Wear flat shoes or slippers

These treatments can help in the early stages of an ingrown toenail, but if the toe is painful, red, or swollen, or looks infected, visit our surgeons for a thorough examination. If you have diabetes, you should see our surgeons as a matter of course, as foot problems in people with diabetes can lead to serious complications.

What other treatment options are available for ingrown toenails?

Our surgeons assess the severity of the problem at your assessment and prescribe the least invasive option available that’s suitable for your case. Our providers offer different alternatives/treatment options to treat and work best for yourself and your lifestyle.

Lifting and separating the nail from the surrounding tissue

By separating the nail from the skin and other tissues into which it’s growing, the nail is redirected back to its correct path away from your toe.

Removal of the affected part of the toenail

In severe or chronic cases, our surgeons remove the affected part of the nail to allow your toe to heal and the nail to regrow correctly. The procedure may be done as an outpatient procedure under local anesthetic.

If the toe is infected, our surgeons can prescribe a course of antibiotics and antibiotic cream to treat the infection.

Whether you’ve just spotted an ingrown toenail, or you have an ongoing problem, our surgeons can help. Call Kinetic Foot and Ankle Clinic today, or book an appointment online.